No Child Left Behind and Students Who Struggle With Learning: An Online Chat
Advocate Candace Cortiella answers parents' questions about how the No Child Left Behind Act can support learning.
By Candace Cortiella, The Advocacy Institute
Candace Cortiella, an expert in special education law, is director of the nonprofit The Advocacy Institute which focuses on improving the lives of people with learning disabilities, through public policy and other initiatives. She is also the mother of a young adult with learning disabilities. Ms. Cortiella is the author of several articles on our website related to laws affecting children with learning disabilities and difficulties.
This conversation between Ms. Cortiella and parents about potential benefits to kids with learning difficulties in the federal No Child Left Behind Act, originally took place in 2004 on the parent message board hosted by Schwab Learning, formerly a program of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, from 2000 to 2007. Scott Moore, Senior Online Community Manager for Schwab Learning, moderated. We feel readers will find much that is useful and important for their own efforts to advocate for their children.
Ms. Cortiella authored "Making the No Child Left Behind Act Work for Children Who Struggle to Learn: A Parent's Guide," a free publication produced by the National Center for Learning Disabilities. A downloadable pdf version of this guide is available.
List of Questions Asked of Candace Cortiella:
(Skip this list of questions and go directly to the beginning of the transcript.)
- What do you think are the two or three most beneficial provisions of NCLB for kids with learning problems?
- IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) has been in place for 30 years and is blatantly disregarded by many districts and states. Why do you believe things are going to turn in the parents' favor with NCLB?
- If a parent sees things at their child's school that seem to violate the NCLB law, what should they do to get the school to comply? Who do they report problems to?
- Don't you believe that state education departments and school districts would be more accountable if they had to report to a truly independent authority?
- Can you recommend some resources for parents that provide information about the performance of their schools?
- Are there specific advocates or advocacy agencies that can help parents deal with their schools?
- Doesn't NLCB apply more to inner city schools than to middle class suburban schools? For example, tutoring [under NCLB] is only available to low-income students.
- How can we find out which states are most compliant?
- Do you have any further thoughts for our audience about school or district accountability under NCLB for improving kids' academic performance?
- How much can NCLB really do to address teacher quality? Can NCLB help parents get a teacher who understands how to teach to different learning styles?
- What is a Title II school?
- What is the definition of "highly qualified"? Isn't it vastly different from state to state?
- What prevents states setting all requirements at the lowest possible levels?
- Is there any way that we can improve the quality of paraprofessional assistance, all the way down to the local level, through future changes to the NCLB Act?
- Another topic that comes up along with NCLB is the troubles students with learning disabilities are having with high-stakes testing. Can tests required by NCLB be used for high-stakes decisions? Can high-stakes tests be used to fulfill the requirements of NCLB?
- Where do they get the scientific methods, and how are teachers going to be up to this ("highly qualified") level by 2005-2006?
- Can parents bring research-based teaching methods to the attention of schools that could benefit? Is there a process for that?